Detroit Free Press recognizes Dr. Beiter's work with couples

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Good communication goes hand-in-hand with good sex

The kids are sleeping, the dishes are washed, and the phone has finally stopped ring ing. You and your partner are now ready for a cozy night in front of the TV. After an hour, your partner strokes your hair, gives you that seductive look, and, without a word — you’re upstairs hav ing sex.

Many couples have their own personal ways of showing each other they are in the mood. It may be a nod, gesture or specific glance.

These sex signals aren’t evident to others; they are just intend ed for your partner. This secret language can add mystery and suspense to your relationship.

They also allow your partner to express sexual desire when there are other people around.

While having these special signals is great, it also is impor tant that you and your partner are able to openly communicate about sex.

Do you have to talk about sex with your partner to have a sexually satisfying relationship? No, but it certainly can’t hurt.

Studies show that talking open ly about sexuality can signif icantly improve your relation ship and sex life.

“Many people have diffi culty talking candidly with their partner about sex, which prevents them from experiencing a deeper level of sexual connection,” says
Dr. John Beiter of Pittsburgh, a certified sex therapist and clinical psychologist.

“Some couples don’t even have a vocabulary to discuss sex with their partner. We learn at a very early age that sex isn’t something we discuss with others.”

Also, many couples Beiter counsels mistakenly assume that if they plan ahead and talk about sex, then those sexual experiences will not be as excit ing or enjoyable. He says this is a myth.

Beiter strongly encourages couples to talk about their de sires and plan sexual encoun ters ahead of time. He has de veloped a 90-question survey called the “Beiter Sexuality Preference Indicator” ( www.bspitest.com) to help people better understand their own sexual desires and to then discuss those desires with their partner.

The BSPI questions ask you about:

| How you get in the mood.

| Whether you like to initiate or be initiated into sex.

| Which activities you find pleasurable, and whether you like to experience spontaneous or planned sex.

“Differences in desires and wants don’t mean that you and your partner are incompatible,” explains Beiter. He compares sexual preferences to food preferences and says, “When you and your partner are trying to decide what to eat for dinner, you might ask — what are our choices given what each of us likes?”

Sex is the same thing. Once you know each other’s desires and wants, you have a fun menu of activities to choose from.

| DR. TERRI ORBUCH IS A MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPIST AND PROFESSOR. SHE IS THE AUTHOR OF “5 SIMPLE STEPS TO TAKE YOUR MARRIAGE FROM GOOD TO GREAT” (RANDOM HOUSE, $26). E-MAIL HER AT TORBUCH@FREEPRESS.COM.

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